Nasal Irrigation Protocol

Sinus irrigation is a useful tool in one’s efforts to keep the sinus tissue shrunken so that the sinuses can drain efficiently. Allergy causes the “ostia” (small openings that allow drainage of the sinus cavity) to swell shut when all the soft tissue and the nasal area swells in response to airborne allergens or food allergens or hormonal changes. When the openings swell shut, the sinus pressure continues to build as the sinus continuously secretes mucus into the formally open sinus cavity. If one has had a sinus infection in the past, this allows the sinus infection to awaken from its “dormant” state and become active once again.

It is my experience that once an individual has had a sinus infection, they will always have the same sinus infection return from that time forward. Antibiotics are usually of no value in that the sinus cavity is a hollow cave in our head and there is no blood circulating within it. Antibiotics are carried throughout the body by the blood stream and therefore are of very little benefit in a sinus infection. The reason that some patients feel that the antibiotics have helped a sinus infection is that the antibiotic itself has a mild anti-inflammatory effect. That will cause some shrinkage of the sinus mucus membrane, allowing the sinus cavity to resume normal drainage and the sinus infection once again becomes “dormant” (goes back to sleep).

Sinus irrigation is an ancient technique still used by grandmothers and ear, nose and throat doctors to help shrink sinus tissues. In its simplest form, people have, in the past, “snuffed” saltwater solution up their noses and this has caused shrinkage of the mucus membrane and resulting in once again a resolution of the sinus swelling and a mild form of relief of the acute sinus infection. In its present form, we have utilized a method whereby one instills a very large amount of saltwater solution through the sinus cavity through the use of a common water-pick (approximately $35.00 at your local pharmacy) and a sinus irrigation adapter that fits on the end of the water pick. The sinus adapter can be obtained from this office or your ear, nose and throat physician or directly from the company we purchase them from. Ethicare products of Florida (approximately $25; 954-742-3599; catalog #AHUN-adjustable nasal-throat irrigators). The recipe for making the sinus solution is as follows:


Start Mix:

First Day
1 Qt. Water (cool water is best; never use HOT water)
1 Heaping Tsp. Pickling Salt
1 Heaping Tsp. Baking Soda
1 Level Tsp. Hydrogen Peroxide

Second Day
1 Qt. Water
2 Heaping Tsp. Pickling Salt
1 Heaping Tsp. Baking Soda
1 Level Tsp. Hydrogen Peroxide

Third Day
1 Qt. Water
3 Heaping Tsp. Pickling Salt
1 Heaping Tsp. Baking Soda
1 Level Tsp. Hydrogen Peroxide

Patient will use approximately 1 Qt. per day.

Repeat instructions for 3rd day until clear, then cut back to 2 times daily.

Be sure to start out with a very weak dilution so there is no sinus pain.

I find that cool to cold water works best in the sinuses. This helps diminish the swelling. Warm, or in particular hot, water causes an increase in the swelling of the soft tissue and can dramatically exaggerate the symptoms, causing exquisite pain simply from the installation of the warm water. When you first start experiencing sinus congestion, you should begin this procedure in the morning and again in the evening, running 500ml through the affected side of your nose. If you reach the point where this isn’t helping you any, you might try up to four times each day. I have never had to do this more than twice a day for more than two days at which point I am able to reduce it to once per day.

This is not a terribly pleasant solution, but it is one that invariably works. Try it!

* This treatment is not approved by the FDA